DEATH ON MAILAND: Would Not Nigerians Rather Kill Themselves Than Commit Suicide?

By Ikenga Chronicles March 22, 2017

DEATH ON MAILAND:  Would Not Nigerians Rather Kill Themselves Than Commit Suicide?

— Vitus Ozoke

News of the apparent suicidal death of a Nigerian physician who jumped off the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos, has prompted a frenzy of causative speculations. Theories have ranged from depression to general national hardship – and many things in between. I submit that it is neither depression nor general national hardship; Nigerians are culturally wired to absorb hardship without going the deep end. Nigerians love life too much to voluntarily surrender it to hardship; they will rather drag on to their very last breath.

When the former first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, declared, in what seemed and sounded palpably moronic, that she would rather kill herself than commit suicide, she was making a philosophically deep and culturally-rooted point. Her point was that she would have to endure and work herself to her bare bones rather than voluntarily surrender herself to death. Like I said, Nigerians have a consuming love for life. If Nigerians loved and cared for life a little less, the country would have been a better place, as they would have been able to confront their daily oppressors.

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The brutal truth is that if Nigeria were a normal society, there should be many more suicidal deaths. And by normal society is meant one in which people treasure personal character, integrity, and earned dignity. In such a normal society, there is high premium on the metaphorical virtue of face, and people work hard to maintain their face through various measures of facework. In such a society, when face is lost, all is lost, and nothing is left – not even life.

In a normal society, when serious evidence mounts that a serving or ex-governor of a state has corruptly enriched himself even to a meagre degree, such a governor commits suicide. But in Nigeria, when such a governor is clearly and conclusively proven to have enriched himself to the tune of billions of commonwealth resources, that governor, rather than commit suicide, crosses over and takes shelter and refuge in the ruling party.

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In a normal society, when a former governor is charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced by a foreign country for laundering his state’s fund into foreign banks, such a governor upon completion of his sentence, rather than shamefully return to his home country, commits suicide in that foreign country. In Nigeria, such a governor, who has laundered colossal billions of his taxpayers’ money into foreign banks, is granted full and unconditional state pardon by an equally corrupt president. And upon release and return to Nigeria, such a governor is treated to a hero’s welcome.

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In a normal society, when pictures and other damning evidence of a randy pastor’s sexual escapades surface on social media, such a pastor takes a poison pill and sleeps eternally. In Nigeria, such a pastor, rather than do the needful, unleashes a volley of demonizing attacks on his accusers and her witnesses. In a normal society, when the director of a public pension fund is shown to have embezzled such pension fund, such a director commits suicide. In Nigeria, such a director who has embezzled billions of that fund, is made to pay a fine of a few millions even as he keeps the billions and lives his life as though nothing has happened.

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In a normal society, when a school boat ride goes wrong and results in a clear case of a water accident, killing scores of kids and teachers, the minister of education chooses to commit suicide rather than live in shame. In Nigeria, when an immigration job recruitment scam results in a foreseeable stampede and the death of scores of young job seekers, the comptroller of immigration sees no reason to commit suicide. It does not matter to him that the reason for the carnage was because immigration authorities, to his knowledge and directive, illegally collected illegal job application fees from more victims than the job fair venue can contain.

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In a normal society, if a building collapses, killing scores of occupants, because building code instructions were violated, whoever is responsible for such violation commits suicide. In Nigeria, when a pastor ignores building code violation warnings, and a church collapses, killing scores of worshippers, the pastor does not commit suicide; instead, like in a Subaru accident commercial, he lives. He even gets a public goodwill message from the Nigerian president, congratulating him and his wife for not being among the dead.

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In a normal society, when it is revealed that lawmakers get together every month to give themselves pay raises, even as the masses are being crushed under the weight of sustained hardship, such lawmakers commit suicide in embarrassment. In Nigeria, when similar revelations are made of senators and congressmen giving themselves pay raises to the tune of millions, the Nigerian lawmakers respond to such revelations with even more pay raises for themselves. In a normal society, when pictures and videos surface of university lecturers sleeping with their students for grades, such lecturers commit suicide. In Nigeria, such lecturers become consultants to other lecturers with similar aspirations.

In a normal society, politicians are so afraid of sex tapes of themselves and mistresses that they commit suicide when such tapes are leaked into the public domain. In Nigeria, politicians desiring to sleep with young girls, first co-opt the services of a middle-woman who records such young girls in cucumber-instrumentalized sex tapes, which they keep as both offensive and defensive blackmail weapon.

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In a normal society, when it is shown that a politician has lied about his military record, such a politician commits suicide in shame. In Nigeria, when it is shown that a senator may have forged his academic records, such a senator, rather than refute the allegations and set the records straight, engage in threats and smear attacks on his traducers.

So, that is the country called Nigeria. It is not a normal society. Abnormal things travel normal routes in Nigeria. Because social roads are not marked in Nigeria, normal and abnormal travel the same lane. Things that would make people commit suicide in normal societies make heroes out of Nigerians. Suicide is not a Nigerian thing because we are too shameless to reject shameful conditions of being. We are too shameless to worry about character, integrity, and dignity. Again, in the immortal words of Dame Patience Jonathan, Nigerians would rather kill themselves than commit suicide.

Yes, immortal words…